Postgraduate training for general practice in the United Kingdom

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Although the role of general practice is well established in the United Kingdom's National Health Service, formal postgraduate training for primary care practice is a recent development. Trainees may enter three-year programs of coordinated inpatient and outpatient training or may select a series of independent posts. Programs have been developed to train general practitioners as teachers, and innovative courses have been established. Nevertheless, there is a curious emphasis on inpatient experiences, especially since British general practitioners seldom treat patients in the hospital. In their outpatient experiences trainees are provided with little variety in their instructors, practice settings, and medical problems. The demands on this already strained system will soon be increased due to recent legislation requiring postgraduate training for all new general practitioners. With a better understanding of training for primary care in the National Health Service, those planning American primary care training may avoid the problems and incorporate the attributes of British training for general practice.

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